Les Lionceaux are still missing young centre back Jerome Onguene who is being given an extended break after featuring heavily for France U19s in the European Championship. New striker Goran Karanovic isn’t deemed fit enough either and misses out once again. Right back/midfielder Pierre Gibaud returns from suspension and in general the Sochaux squad is looking in good condition. Albert Cartier’s men got their season off to a winning start by beating Troyes 3-1 on the road last week. Sochaux weren't anything special in that contest, just took their chances. They looked more dangerous with new signing Faneva Andriatsima in their ranks. The Montbeliard outfit are one of the favourites for promotion this season and will be looking to make it back to back victories here. Le Stade Bonal isn’t always a fortress though and Albert Cartier knows he needs to build a stronger home record this season.
VA were possibly the most impressive team in round one. They beat Clermont 2-0, but in all truth could’ve easily scored 4 or 5 goals such was their domination. It’s true they faced 10 men for most of that contest but it still would've been a big morale boost to start the season in such great fashion. Valenciennes are missing starting left back Saliou Cisse, although Moussa Niakhate is doing a decent job replacing him there. In the middle of the field Abdoul Kabore is another absentee, but the exact same squad which won last week is retained here. In Faruk Hadzibegic, they have a good manager who usually gets the most of of his players. VA had a good away record last season too, so won’t have any fear playing on the road.
Conclusion & betting analysis
Sochaux are a good side and I think they’ll go close to promotion this season. They started the campaign with a victory and there’s every reason to think they can win back to back fixtures here. But I’m not interested in backing them @ 1.80. Valenciennes deserve a bit more respect than that and it was impressive how they performed last week. All parts of their game looked in good order and I’m sure they approach this game with great confidence. Besides, Sochaux can sometimes be flat at home and have never been the greatest supported club in terms of atmosphere and attendance. I think this will be a good game to watch, maybe more open than many expect. It’s capable of going either way, so perhaps a draw is the most likely outcome. I have a decent amount of respect for both at the moment so I’m willing to leave to match alone.
Recommended bet: None